The young man blinked his eyes once or twice, and proceeded to mutter something incomprehensible, then Cole rolled over onto his other side, quickly resuming his slumbering state.
Jace said no more, hastily disappearing in his usual fashion.
Ruby, having more to say to both men, suddenly felt a mix of emotion. Her heart nearly skipped a beat when she thought Cole might arise and find Jace in the chamber, yet she was unsure if she was relieved or disappointed in the outcome. The young woman still burned with frustration, placing two fingers to her flowery lips; this was the second kiss given to her by Jace, but she received it in outrage. Sighing, she surrendered to her exhaustion, but no matter how much she endeavored to sleep, Ruby could not.
The young woman was awoken by a gentle prodding. Cole was urging her to get out of bed, "Ruby, I'm hungry."
She attempted to adjust her level of comfort, ignoring his whimpers.
"You can go and get some food yourself, Cole. I mean, you are the king," she grumbled, refusing to quit the bed.
"You can't tell me you're not hungry."
"I'll manage." Her voice reflected her annoyance, and she spoke using her friend's favorite phrase.
"I don't want to eat alone. Besides, I have something I want to talk to you about."
Ruby was surprised to hear the words pass his lips; seldom Cole would say words like 'something I want to talk to you about,' with a sternness that was delivered in his statement. She pondered quietly to herself, but after a few moments, the pang of hunger assured her only more restlessness.
"All right, all right. Give me a minute to get ready."
The young man's expression gleamed when a smile lit up his face, like the dim glow of a lit candle. "Sure. I'll wait outside."
Cole closed the heavy door of the chamber behind him, then began to stretch out his limbs, trying to shake off his own tiredness. After another wide mouthed yawn, and a sweep of fingers through his shaggy hair, Cole leaned against the wall opposite to the bedchamber. His eyes searched one direction of the corridor, and naturally to the other, but he saw no one, much to his great relief.
He dropped down, taking a seat upon the stony floor, still leaning against the wall. He was hoping to avoid the princess, the woodsman, and the Council of Sages; he desperately desired at least one day off. He closed his eyes for a moment, waiting for Ruby to depart the chamber. This time around he was prodded awake, when he felt the tip of a copper colored boot gently dig into his side.
"Get up lazy bones. You were such an advocate for breakfast, and now here you are, napping in the hallway."
"You were taking forever. Help me up?" Cole extended his hand to the young woman. She aided him as he stood upon his feet once more. "I'm still starving. Let's go get some food, and be quick about it."
They traversed toward the dining hall, yet there was an awkward silence shared between them. At length Ruby inquired, "So, what exactly did you want to tell me?"
Cole had been mustering the courage to address her, which excused his lack of dialogue, but the time came to confess what was dwelling in his heart. He had been desiring to apologize to Ruby ever since he openly compared her to her mother; at last the opportunity presented itself.
"I had a really strange dream last night," he started, reprimanding himself in his mind, knowing that wasn't what he wanted to say.
"Oh? And what was it about?"
"Do you remember that fairy guy, what's his name, uh, Pen's brother? Anyway, I imagined him visiting you in the bedroom last night. Crazy, right?"